The mayor of Lillooet, Denis Bontron, has written to the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District about Lillooet's funding allocations, citing financial difficulties for the community — and requested $300,000 from the Payment in Lieu of Taxes fund paid annually by BC Hydro to the SLRD.
In the letter, which was discussed by SLRD directors at their monthly meeting on Nov. 26, Bontron said the District of Lillooet was "at a critical point in its history and need(s) to immediately address longstanding-financial issues" and "seeks the regional district's assistance and adjustment to current funding policies."
Bontron said the SLRD receives over $1 million per annum from BC Hydro, with two-thirds of the funding coming from the generating capacity of Bridge River 1 and 2 hydroelectric stations in SLRD Electoral Area A and B. He noted that of $750,000 received in 2012 from Bridge River generation and La Joie generation stations less than $25,000 went to Lillooet.
Three options were available, he said: To seek a cooperative approach with the SLRD to increase the share of funding received by his region and district; to independently proceed with a satellite boundary extension process to include the Bridge River generating capacity within the District of Lillooet; or immediately reduce services to the community.
Bontron called the current payment arrangement "patently unfair" and added "the District of Lillooet respectfully requests that the SLRD immediately amend its BC Hydro Payment in Lieu of Taxation policy to allocate the full 40 per cent of the northern area generating capacity grant to the District of Lillooet commencing in fiscal 2013."
Whistler Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden expressed reluctance to support any resolution impacting tax rates within the SLRD.
The board received Bontron's letter, and a request was made to SLRD staff to analyze the impact to services that any changes might have.